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Failed TV Pilot: 'Daddy-O' (1961)

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Failed TV Pilot: 'Daddy-O' (1961)

Published 1961

Failed TV pilot from 1961 called "Daddy-O". This sitcom pilot is filled with twists! Odd, But amusing. I think the reason it wasn't picked up is because they would of run out of storylines quickly. It's Worth watching.

Run time Approx 25 Minutes
Audio/Visual sound, color


Reviewer: sharonflings - - July 13, 2012
Subject: Summary and Historical Background
Daddy-O was produced for CBS in 1961. The writer, Max Shulman, had a deal to create another show with the network based on his success with "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis". It was turned down by the network based on its satyric critique of the television industry and mocking situation comedies. In the pilot, the leading character plays a bumbling and foolish father on a sitcom and wants to quit due to his poor acting skills and disinterest in the show. He is persuaded by his simple wife and patriotic boss to stay on the show. His boss goes as far as to hire an elderly woman to lay on her deathbed and declare her love of Daddy-O for him to stay. Though this pilot was not picked up, it is comical and offers a scathing review of the media industry.
Reviewer: bgrauman - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 25, 2011
Subject: Why CBS rejected this pilot (and never even "burned it off" in the summer)
This pilot was produced as a proposed series for the network's 1961-'62 schedule. I think even Max Shulman knew CBS was going to pass on it because it made fun of the kind of sitcoms the network (and their competition) were scheduling at the time.

And if there was one thing James T. Aubrey, the network's president and chief programmer at the time, DIDN'T want on his schedule, was a comedy that "told the truth"...especially about TV {and situation comedies} in general. What HE wanted was the kind of "fatuous" sitcom that "Daddy O" satirized at the beginning of the episode- where Daddy's a bumbling idiot- or the wife is scatterbrained- and the plot is nothing more involving than, say, "Hubby invites the boss to dinner, but Wifey burns the roast". In fact, he objected to "THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW" because he didn't Rob Petrie to be a New York-based comedy/variety show writer ("Too 'inside'", Aubrey told Carl Reiner and Sheldon Leonard,, suggesting "Couldn't you make Van Dyke a Midwestern insurance salesman, like Robert Young on 'FATHER KNOWS BEST'?" They refused, and Aubrey [who was virtually forced to schedule the show because its sponsor, Procter & Gamble- CBS' biggest advertiser- insisted on it] tried to sabotage, then cancel the series by the end of its first season). No, "DADDY O" probably would have been received better as one of Max Shulman's novels. It's hilarious, but too far ahead of its time...
Reviewer: Noah 8-? - favorite - July 27, 2011
Subject: Four Stars - but not a rating
Y - hush my mouf.... That surely is Don Defore as "Daddy 'O" (Star #1 and that is truly Sheila Kuehl Of Zelda Gilroy (The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis)fame..... But who'da thunk it the other teenagers.... I have surely seen that younger dark-haired boy som'eres else before.. mmmmmm.... now lessee OH Yeah! It's Jimmy Baird (Brother of Sharon Baird, Mousekteer) aka Pee Wee, sidekick to Joey (Bobby Diamond)the Sat morn tv show of Fury! 'course he is a teenager here. and that Pony-tailed with bangs admirer? That's Trudi Ames from Gidget Goes to Rome & Bye Bye Birdee.

What'd I tell ya? Four stars. I'm also thinking I have seen the elderly lady at the end as a regular camera personality also, but then maybee that'd make it 5 stars. If the Plot had been of a more up-beat nature then maybe EVERY participant coulda been a Star. 8-?
Reviewer: Kodachrome - favorite - July 27, 2011
Subject: Awful
Just awful.
Reviewer: yuma - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 15, 2011
Subject: no hazel
I would say a good show, an if it would have worked, Defore would not have been on Hazel.
Reviewer: EJEFFREY - favoritefavoritefavorite - November 18, 2010
Subject: Shows writer/performers
Adeline DeWalt Reynolds is the first bed patient shown at the end. She was 99 when she did the show and was probably one of the oldest working actresses ever.
Max Shulman ,the pilot's creator/writer ,had done same for AFFAIRS OF DOBIE GILLIS
Reviewer: pauls son - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 18, 2010
Subject: Daddy-O
What a great little show. Maybe the reason it didn't sell was that it showed just how truly sleazy producers really are. haha The only person who really didn't come off well was the secretary. She seemed too intellegent a person to play dumb.
Reviewer: TG Fan - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 27, 2009
Subject: Enjoyed It
I liked this would have been interesting to see where the story lines would go from this one...I'd keep watching just to see the secretary
Reviewer: jonel469 - favorite - December 28, 2008
Subject: copyright?
why is there a 2008 copyright at the end of the credits ?
Reviewer: Classic_TV_and_Radio_Fan - favorite - November 11, 2008
If Adolf Hitler watched TV, This is what he would watch. Being raped is more fun than this crap fest. I can't believe they destroyed the mastertapes of 60's-era "The Tonight Show" yet preserved this garbage.
Reviewer: Dodsworth the Cat - favoritefavoritefavorite - November 11, 2008
Subject: Points for Trying
A brilliant and novel concept for a sitcom but, unfortunately, it was circa 1960, so Max Shulman and Rod Amateau (who worked on Dobie Gillis together) settled on a bit of a satire with light cynicism (had Stan Freberg written the show, it would have been far more biting). Still, it's so unlike any other sitcom on the air at that time, I can't see it fitting in on anyone's schedule around the ultra-corny comedy programming of the era.
Don DeFore gives a nice, laid-back 50s-style performance. I'm sure some directors would have wanted him to be a little more manic.
Reviewer: Seto-Kaiba_Is_Stupid - favorite - August 8, 2008
Subject: I Agree with Noah 8-?
Very Ahead of time. TV didn't get this trashy until the 2000's. I'm glad this wasn't picked up, since it's just like many modern sitcoms, since it has no understanding about what it's spoofing.
Reviewer: Strandlund - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 18, 2008
Subject: Very original...
This was really odd. It looked like a sitcom Charlie Kaufman would have written. Very ahead of its time and very enjoyable. And who can't resist Don DeFore, our next door neighbor. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Thanks to whomever uploaded this! MORE FAILED SITCOM PILOTS, PLEASE!
Reviewer: Broken Arrows - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 15, 2008
Subject: Fun and snappy...
...and really amusing, unlike many other shows of the era. Thanks to whomever posted this.

One question: Did anyone think the teen girl in the opening scene looked like Sheila Kuehl, who played Zelda on Dobie Gillis and is now a CA Sanator?

Anyone know about this? The credits at the end credit the kids, but I think those are in the main show, not in the show-within-the-show, which comprises the opening scene.

Also, that secretary is hot!
Reviewer: Retro_Saiyan - - July 14, 2008
Subject: Yep, It's Don DeFore
I uploaded this and I checked the opening credits. Now, Will anyone watch this please?
Reviewer: Detective John Carter of Mars - - July 14, 2008
Subject: Mr. B, naturally?
Don Defore in the title role, looks like.
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